Weekly Check-In #32
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OOC ACCOUNTS ALL IN CAPS
character accounts all in lower
06
TOWNIES
02
HILLBROOK
11
STAFF
07
TENDERFOOT
08
WRANGLER
10
TRAILBLAZER
06
WELLWADER
07
PATHFINDER
07
RIDGERUNNER
02
WINDCHASER
04
CLIFFHANGER
Welcome to Brook Haven!
Welcome to Brook Haven Ranch! We are a 18+ premium role playing community set in Trader's Bend, Montana. Our concept is the culmination of twenty years of plotting and planning. We feature a rich, developed program in which many troubled characters thrive. Our community is one of the best on jcink and we look forward to you becoming a part of it!
Healing Horses & Troubled Teens since 1995
Not every teenager has the benefit of growing up in a loving, happy home. Some are victims of abuse, neglect, a system that shuffles them from foster home to foster home. Brook Haven Ranch was established in 1995 as a refuge for abused and neglected horses -- and teenagers who needed a second chance in life and the opportunity to become something more than society expects of them.
Updates
8/25/2017 - Revamp Executed! 11/3/2017 - Holiday Event Launched!

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 Too old for the bounce house
tyler preston
Student • 14 YRS
ISFJ
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Tyler
Pronouns
He/Him
Sexual Orientation
Homosexual
Status
Single
Partner
Riding Style
English
Tyler lived in Trader's Bend until he was 7, when his family was in a serious car accident. His mother was seriously injured, and he went to live with his father, step-mother, and step-sister for several years. After using a horse riding accident to reveal their abuse, he's returned to live with his mother again.
Spicy
is
Nutmeg

Breed
Appaloosa
Gender
Gelding
Age
12
Disciplines
Endurance
Application
Ben
is Offline


Age
35
Pronouns
He/him
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM
50 Posts
445 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
TW:
Tyler stood in the middle of the field as people milled past him, alone or in small groups. He was holding a plate with a third of a funnel cake left on it, swapping it between hands every so often. He looked around for a second time, zipped his windbreaker up, then unzipped it again. Okay, enough of that. He couldn't spend the whole afternoon fidgeting with his coat, and if he tried, someone in the flow of people currently parting around him would eventually notice. He'd tried to talk his way out of attending the night before. He'd told his mother that he had too much homework, which wasn't really true. He'd said he needed the time to take care of his horse, which was true, and he'd had to rush this morning to get Spicy properly brushed. He'd pointed out that his friends wouldn't be there, and that all the activities were for little kids, and that the money could be better spent on something else. But here he was. Maybe it was the cooler weather, or just a good month, but his mother had been a lot more energetic the last couple weeks. That was almost entirely a good thing - there'd even been home cooked meals a couple times. But it also meant she had the energy to go out and do things on the weekend, and if she really wanted to go to the Family Fun Fest with him when she could, he could only put up so much resistance. She'd also had enough energy to enter her beloved zucchini recipe in the contest, though, so while she stuck around for that, he had some time to enjoy the rest of the festival. If only there were something I wanted to do. He'd seen a few people he knew, but most of them were here with their own families, and usually younger siblings. Tyler took a deep breath, zipped up his windbreaker once more, and looked around more systematically. First thing I find to do that's worth doing, I just take it, he resolved. Bounce house: no, too old. He turned his head, slowly, picking out activities and people he recognized in turn. That stuffy chem teacher from school: no, what would I even say to him? Symphony...maybe? There wasn't an obvious reason not to say hello to Symphony, and she was more likely than a lot of people to be okay with him tagging along for a bit. Besides, if anyone knows how to enjoy this place as a teenager, it's probably her. He'd learned quickly that she tended to see the best in people, and he suspected that extended to events like this, too. Tyler put on his friendly smile, the one where the right side of his mouth curled up a bit more than the left, like there was a little extra happiness trying to sneak out. "Hey, Sym. How are you?" He glanced down at the plate, currently in his right hand. "I don't suppose you want any funnel cake? I couldn't finish it."
symphony lyonette
Student • 17 YRS
ESFP
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Sym
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual
Status
Complicated
Partner
...
Riding Style
English
Sport
is
Spoils of War

Breed
Dutch Warmblood
Gender
Mare
Age
12 Years
Disciplines
Hunter/Jumper
Application
is Offline


Age
37
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM for Discord
44 Posts
465 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
10 October, 2017 for @tyler preston
TW: teen pregnancy, body functions, nausea
October had arrived early in 2017, making its presence known as early as the first week in September. The air was rich with the acrid odor of wood smoke, and the trees had become God's canvas. If one thing could bring a smile to Sym's face (in light of her circumstances), it was this season. Wind blew leaves in clusters, whipping them up to settle gentle at her feet. Children crunched through the fall, squealed and argued over which was the best pumpkin. Parents laughed and occasionally scolded. Soon, that would be her. It brought a blush to her cheeks, that thought, but she embraced it. There's no sense denying what's coming for me. It's better for me to fall in love with this baby than resent him. She rested her hand on her abdomen. For now, it was a gentle curve, but it would swell before long.* The drawback of the event (moreso than the season) was that her friends had ignored her. Once in a while a pair or trio of them would walk past, their faces turned forward, arms entwined. She smiled as though she didn't notice their deliberate avoidance. They aren't worth getting upset over. One day they'll change their minds about me, and if they don't, they weren't worth me being friends with in the first place. Today was about her. For once she was here for personal reasons, not to serve the church or the ranch. Her fathers had given her permission to take some time for herself. So what if she chose to go on with her regular activities? Knowing she had the choice made a difference. Her eyes scanned the crowd for the slender, dark skinned form she'd come to trust. So far, she'd not caught a glimpse of Levi Washington. She'd begun to lose hope that he'd appear for the day, and turned to pick up her bag with her Bible. If she couldn't see him, then she might as well help out with the church-sponsored pumpkin patch. Fruit of the Vine had arranged several of the festival activities, while the Holy Trinity church disputed that Christians had no place celebrating Halloween. It's a fall festival. I don't understand why they have to take the fun out of everything. That's not what we're called to do. It's not good witnessing. Sym sighed and turned, surprising herself when she came face-to-face with Tyler Preston. "Oh!" She laughed out loud, easing the tension from her throat and her shoulders. Behind him, in the distance, she caught sight of a familiar red sweater, dark skin, long fingers. Levi. Her eyes tightened, legs prepared to spring, but she slowed herself and turned her attention back to Tyler. If he's here now, he'll be here later. If he wants to talk to me, he can come find me. It's better not to be that desperate little girl. That's how I got into this mess, isn't it? This time when she smiled, she meant it. "I'm always hungry these days." Sym reached for the plate and took it from Tyler, then nodded her head in the direction of the pumpkin patch. "I was going to see if they needed any help over there. I hear there's supposed to be a carving contest. Do you plan to participate?" *I have Sym's pregnancy on hold for now so that I can enjoy the process of playing it out. Though she discovered her pregnancy in May, at this point I envision her as about 4 months pregnant.
tyler preston
Student • 14 YRS
ISFJ
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Tyler
Pronouns
He/Him
Sexual Orientation
Homosexual
Status
Single
Partner
Riding Style
English
Tyler lived in Trader's Bend until he was 7, when his family was in a serious car accident. His mother was seriously injured, and he went to live with his father, step-mother, and step-sister for several years. After using a horse riding accident to reveal their abuse, he's returned to live with his mother again.
Spicy
is
Nutmeg

Breed
Appaloosa
Gender
Gelding
Age
12
Disciplines
Endurance
Application
Ben
is Offline


Age
35
Pronouns
He/him
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM
50 Posts
445 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
Oct 7 for @symphony lyonette
TW:
Symphony might have wanted to talk to someone else. The way she was looking out towards something, the way she was turning like the was ready to go somewhere before he showed up, suggested that she might be about to go talk to someone. But that was always a danger; he couldn't refuse to start conversations just because someone might want to talk to someone else. He'd just have to keep an eye on how she acted, look for signs that she wanted to end the conversation. Which, he was now realizing, would be particularly hard with Sym. If she did want to talk to someone else instead, she might actually try to hide that out of politeness, which meant Tyler would have to be that much more alert. For just a moment, he looked confused at what she'd said. It just wasn't the sort of thing teenage girls usually said, and it took him a second to realize that she was referring to her pregnancy. Realizing that, he replaced the confused scowl with a smile, and handed over the funnel cake. "I'm glad someone'll enjoy it. I didn't want to waste it." He turned his head to follow her gaze towards the pumpkin patch, then turned back to her with a grin. This was half the reason he'd wanted to talk to her in the first place, and here she was, already suggesting something that sounded fun. Of course, activities always sounded more fun when there was someone else around who was excited by them, but he appreciated that Sym was the someone who could be counted on to be excited about something. "I hadn't decided what to do, but it sounds fun. I dunno anything about pumpkin carving, but I guess there's only one way to learn." He took a few steps towards the patch, then looked over to make sure she was coming with him. Tyler was always curious, and there were a lot of questions he wanted to ask her - about her pregnancy, its ongoing social fallout, and the guy widely presumed to be the father - but most of them would have been questionably appropriate even in a much closer friendship. It took a twenty or seconds of planning to produce something he could actually ask. "We miss you at Hillbrook, you know. What're you doing with all that free time now that you're not riding?" It had little hints of the questions he really wanted to ask - about whether some of her friends had come back yet, about how her dads were reacting, about how much the pregnancy was slowing her down - but sounded innocuous enough on its own. Of course, Sym had a habit of seeing through him when he tried to pull that sort of thing, but it was a long established that he wasn't ready to give up yet.
symphony lyonette
Student • 17 YRS
ESFP
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Sym
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual
Status
Complicated
Partner
...
Riding Style
English
Sport
is
Spoils of War

Breed
Dutch Warmblood
Gender
Mare
Age
12 Years
Disciplines
Hunter/Jumper
Application
is Offline


Age
37
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM for Discord
44 Posts
465 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
10 October, 2017 for @tyler preston
TW: teen pregnancy, religion (christian)
The frown caught Symphony by surprise. He could have been offering only to be polite. Her mouth pinched at the corners, and she cast her gaze down. The smile faded, but this time she didn't look away. Wherever Levi had gone, no doubt he was enjoying the festival. She'd have time to talk to him later, and she didn't wish to be rude either. It wasn't until Tyler spoke, his tone different than his expression had been, before she looked up again. Now the smile crept back to her face and she accepted the offer, her hand shaking. Nerves weren't often a problem for Sym, but lately she was on the line. Everybody knew what had happened to her -- or at least they thought they did. People's opinions change all the time. "Thank you. I know I shouldn't eat all the sweets I want, but it's a festival. It's not like I eat like this every day." No, Sym worked hard to balance her diet. Cravings haven't kicked in yet. I don't know what I'll do when they do kick in. I hope it's enough to keep eating eggs and a lot of vegetables. A lot of the good stuff she got came from those sources, and she tried her hardest to eat well. It was better for the baby, yes, but it was also better for her. "They say that when your child gets older, he'll like the foods you ate most when you were pregnant. I hope he likes vegetables." She laughed, an uncomfortable sound, but then shrugged. Tyler knew she was pregnant. There was no point in attempting to hide it. Sym tore off piece of the funnel cake and bit into it. The hardest part about Eating While Pregnant was maintaining her dignity. What she wanted to do was dig in, shove the whole piece into her mouth, and swallow it whole. Later I think I'm going to get a caramel apple, and maybe some corn on the cob. That ought to take care of some of the hunger, at least. This is a sweet craving: That's it. Everybody has those if they eat enough sugar. She tried to avoid it, but who could these days? With farm fresh foods available, it should have been easier, but she was seventeen, and still loved sweets. When she'd finished chewing, Sym held the plate in one hand and the chunk of funnel cake in the other. "Chan and I do the pumpkins every year at home. Most of the time we each take two, but last year the dads also each did one. We had a whole little family of pumpkins out on the front step for the trick or treaters to enjoy." Some people didn't think that the pastor's family ought to have Halloween decorations up, but they embraced it. Sometimes the best way to reach people for Jesus is to be more like them. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, after all. Symphony's father had raised her with faith, but she believed Salvation was a Moment. She'd had hers four years ago when she was thirteen, and had been baptised for the second time. The first time she was only ten, and thought she was ready. It took her by surprise when God acted in her life in a specific way that changed her. In her mind it was easier to reach people if you could show them how God acted on their lives. "I could show you about the pumpkins, if you want?" Sym gestured toward them, showing Tyler where they would have to go. "I'm pretty sure they have all the tools, and a book of examples." It occurred to her that she might want to participate herself. Her cheeks heated, a combination of embarrassment and pleasure. "Is it childish that I think I want to try to carve?"
tyler preston
Student • 14 YRS
ISFJ
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Tyler
Pronouns
He/Him
Sexual Orientation
Homosexual
Status
Single
Partner
Riding Style
English
Tyler lived in Trader's Bend until he was 7, when his family was in a serious car accident. His mother was seriously injured, and he went to live with his father, step-mother, and step-sister for several years. After using a horse riding accident to reveal their abuse, he's returned to live with his mother again.
Spicy
is
Nutmeg

Breed
Appaloosa
Gender
Gelding
Age
12
Disciplines
Endurance
Application
Ben
is Offline


Age
35
Pronouns
He/him
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM
50 Posts
445 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
Oct 7 for @symphony lyonette
TW: christianity, hypocritical christians, divorce references
Tyler shrugged; he certainly wasn't judging what Sym was eating. "I figure they're selling the cakes to support the ranch, so it's practically a good deed to buy one. They're good, too, I'm just not hungry enough to finish one." He glanced at her to make sure she didn't think he was serious about thinking that buying cakes was a good deed. She looked nervous, or maybe pensive. Sym had always been friendly to him, but she was hard to read in a way he hadn't figured out yet. By now he'd dealt with her enough that he was pretty confident that whatever she was distracted by had nothing to do with him, but that still left him curious. "I didn't know that, but I guess that makes sense." Tyler knew about food cravings in pregnancy, since they were a television staple, but not much else. He wondered if Sym had heard that sort of thing before, or if it was the sort of tidbit people had started telling her since she became pregnant. He knew enough to guess that the adults in her life probably were peppering her with advice and rules about how to act to keep the baby safe - after all, that was why she'd had to stop riding in the first place. He smiled again at the description of the pumpkin family. "That sounds really nice." He was still getting used to how differently Fruit of the Vine was from his old church; a pastor married to another man, their pregnant daughter, and their family of pumpkins put out - his old church would have been scandalized. "You each get to carve your own design, right? So it's like your whole family together, but you each get your own piece of it. That's the sort of family thing I like. Maybe I should see if my mom would do that. If I tell her the pastor's family does it, she has to think it's a good idea, right?" His step-mother had been really into family activities, but she'd also insisted on stage managing everything; it all had to fit into her image of what the perfect family would do. He could imagine her version of putting out a family of pumpkins if her church had somehow decided it was okay: she would have decided exactly what everyone's pumpkin had to look like so it might the right display, and then supervised to make sure everyone carved theirs properly. She ignored his question. He was getting used to that with Sym, but it was part of why he felt like he didn't know enough about her. She always did it gracefully, and she usually didn't seem to mind them, but for someone who seemed so open and friendly, she let very little of herself slip. He would have avoided most people who were so secretive, but whatever Sym was hiding, he had enough evidence that her kindness was genuine to feel safe talking to her. "Yeah, I'd love to see what it's like." He followed her gesture with his eyes and started walking towards the area with the pumpkin carving. He wrapped his right arm across his front, grabbing his left elbow to limit the way it tic-ed in and out; between that and the windbreaker, he was doing a decent job of concealing the twitch today. He looked back at her and saw her flush. "I don't think so." He shrugged. "You can always say that you're doing me a favor by showing me how."
symphony lyonette
Student • 17 YRS
ESFP
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Sym
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual
Status
Complicated
Partner
...
Riding Style
English
Sport
is
Spoils of War

Breed
Dutch Warmblood
Gender
Mare
Age
12 Years
Disciplines
Hunter/Jumper
Application
is Offline


Age
37
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM for Discord
44 Posts
465 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
10 October, 2017 for @tyler preston
TW: teen pregnancy, religion (christian)
As Christian organizations went, Fruit of the Vine was pretty laid back. Symphony had learned to believe that sometimes it was joy that best served God. She followed the Bible as she understood it. Sometimes that meant participating in events like the family fun fest, and carving pumpkins. I know the history of it all, but I still believe that we can have fun and still serve God. He gave us the Sabbath to give us a break. Her opinions might change over the coming years, but for now, this was comfortable. She wanted to live her life and to enjoy it. Halloween isn't bad unless you believe those things. It's not like I'm worshiping demons or anything like that. Some people in town acted as though it was a tremendous sin to carve a vegetable. She couldn't see it that way. Wouldn't see it that way. "The station's over there. Come on, we'll sign up and pick our pumpkins." There was a heap of pumpkins set up for participants to choose from. They weren't the best that had come to the festival (those would be sold) but they were big enough and round enough to design. "We each design our own." She picked up the clipboard with the list of names on it and put hers down, then handed it to Tyler so that he could add his to the list as well. "When we were younger, we did faces, but when we got older we carved designs into them. We try to make the season about celebrating God's provision, rather than about things that go bump in the night." Sym shrugged. "I'm not sure that I'm going to be around much for the last two weekends this month. I've been considering the masque though. I might have a date!" She flashed Tyler a grin. "How about you? Do you have anybody special you might want to bring with you?" Once Tyler had the clipboard in his hands, Symphony turned to examine the available pumpkins. "You want to try to get one that's both big and round. Those are the best for carving. Or if you want to do a type of design, make sure that the pumpkin is the right shape for that. I think I'm going to try to do a cat." That meant that she wanted something squat, though that would make it tougher to scoop out all the innards. The pumpkins hadn't been picked over yet. They were early to arrive on the site, so there were plenty to go through. She bent to roll a pumpkin onto its side, examining it. There was light webbing on the back of the pumpkin, where it had rested in the field. A warm feeling spread through Symphony. There's nothing at all better than the fall! I wish we could have this sort of weather year-round. She straightened and dropped the plate from the funnel cake into the trash, finished with it. "Here, you want to help me pick one out? I don't think we can work together, but we can help one another choose, right?"
tyler preston
Student • 14 YRS
ISFJ
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Tyler
Pronouns
He/Him
Sexual Orientation
Homosexual
Status
Single
Partner
Riding Style
English
Tyler lived in Trader's Bend until he was 7, when his family was in a serious car accident. His mother was seriously injured, and he went to live with his father, step-mother, and step-sister for several years. After using a horse riding accident to reveal their abuse, he's returned to live with his mother again.
Spicy
is
Nutmeg

Breed
Appaloosa
Gender
Gelding
Age
12
Disciplines
Endurance
Application
Ben
is Offline


Age
35
Pronouns
He/him
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM
50 Posts
445 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
TW: teen pregnancy, mention of pornography
"Thanks," Tyler said as he took the clipboard from Symphony and added his name. He was fascinated by the way people used the Halloween season to define and display their identities, like the characters on the television shows he loved. His family back in Kalispell would have denied it, but to Tyler's eyes they were participants in Halloween as much as anyone else: standing in opposition to it was a way for them to remind themselves and the world of their religion, as much about the display of religiosity as any particular moral teaching. Fruit of the Vine's cautious embrace looked like its own display - a way to say We're Christian, but we're not those Christians. Certainly that was what seemed to appeal to Tyler's mother about the church. But, as Symphony reminded him when she talked about carving designs, there was still the need to be publicly Christian, to remind other people and themselves that their centered on their religious lives, not on a secular holiday. At least, that was how Tyler saw it. Most other people didn't seem to think of their actions and identities that way, but it was how Tyler had always understood people. And, mostly, it lead to how he lived his life, borrowing other people's symbols and expressions of identity to try to quietly pass as a member of whatever group he was around. "That's a nice way to do it. I don't see how there could be anything wrong with using the pumpkins to celebrate the fall." He put the clipboard back and followed Symphony to look at the pumpkins. Glancing over to the side to watch how Sym handled the pumpkin she was looking at, he mimicked her, rolling a pumpkin around and onto its side, grunting once as he did. He wasn't entirely sure what to look for, so he put that one back and looked at a second. Once he'd seen a few, surely he'd be able to guess which ones were terrible, and he didn't really care whether he got a particularly good one. "I don't know. I'll probably be back at least once more, for something." Actually, Tyler was pretty excited about the Haunted Nights at the end of the month. He liked that sort of thrill - a lot, actually - and it wasn't easy to get. He'd watched plenty of horror movies, and while he enjoyed them, they were only rarely scary enough to really get his heart beating. He was worried that the Haunted Nights would actually be aimed, despite its billing, at younger kids and be a letdown, but he wasn't going to miss the opportunity, just in case. "I don't think I'll make it to the masque, though. For starters, I don't have a suit for it that fits." That was mostly true (his fancy suit was getting tight, though it wasn't yet unwearable, and he wouldn't have considered wearing the suit he wore to church) though nowhere close to the real reason - Tyler had come to hate that sort of formal event after years of thinking of them as performances where he had to impress the adults with what a sweet kid he was. Fortunately, the price had been enough to discourage his mother, so it had been easy for both of them to agree not to go. "Besides, I don't have a date." He looked over at Symphony curiously, and wondered if she meant a romantic date, or just a friend who was going with her. "Sure, I think we can help each other choose." He stepped closer to her and rolled another pumpkin on its side, a nice plump round one, though with a slight bulge in the middle making it more of an oval than a sphere. "This one's shaped funny, but I think it's in good shape otherwise." He didn't particularly care which of them took it - or even if it was that good; it would mostly be useful to hear someone more experienced either agree with his assessment or point out a problem he hadn't noticed. To his annoyance, his left arm abruptly pulled away, pulling the pumpkin out of his right hand's grasp and nearly rolling it off the table before he grabbed it again. He could stop the tics, temporarily; it took concentration, and made them worse for a while after, but clearly he'd have to while he was holding the pumpkin. He glared at his left elbow for just a moment, and for the first time that day it stopped moving entirely. "Can you say who your date is?" Tyler was curious - he always was - but she'd only said she might have one. "I don't mean to pry if you don't want to say." He pursed his lips. The question about whether he might have a date got him thinking. "Actually," he added, "I guess there is someone I'd want to go with to something. Maybe not a masque, yet." He smiled awkwardly, trying to look a little embarrassed. It wasn't true; not exactly. Tyler was beginning to wonder what exactly it felt like to really have a crush on a girl. He'd seen enough other guys his age get really into girls in different - sometimes real ones, other times pictures they'd found somewhere - to begin to wonder why he hadn't felt the same way yet. But he definitely felt like dating was the sort of thing he was supposed to be do, and there was a girl in his grade who seemed like a good choice - at least, if his life were a television show, they would have made sense as a couple. "I haven't talked to her about it or anything. I'm worried she'd say no."
symphony lyonette
Student • 17 YRS
ESFP
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Sym
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual
Status
Complicated
Partner
...
Riding Style
English
Sport
is
Spoils of War

Breed
Dutch Warmblood
Gender
Mare
Age
12 Years
Disciplines
Hunter/Jumper
Application
is Offline


Age
37
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM for Discord
44 Posts
465 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
10 October, 2017 for @tyler preston
TW: teen pregnancy, religion (christian)
Symphony did her best to educate herself about worldly things. She understood Halloween as a fabrication of the Catholic church. It was aimed (as she understood it) at twisting the pagan traditions into something more palatable for Christians, but inviting to the pagans. Some Christians disliked -- no, hated -- Halloween because it continued to hold those trappings of paganism. I don't fault them for that. A lot of the things that we do, even in our household, are things that are rooted in pagan traditions. Even the pumpkins are a pagan practice. There were plenty of stories about the Jack O'Lantern, but Symphony's favorite was the best: Jack of the Lantern. It made the stories more acceptable, told of the Devil and of God. Now we light the Jack O'Lantern to ward off the evil of wandering Jack. No, that was silly. As a Christian, she believed in evil, but not the warding of Evil Spirits. I'll leave that to the pagans. This is only fun, and it's harmless, really. Satan doesn't live in the pumpkins. We don't let him out every time we carve one and light a candle in it. Her father had taught her that people could be too pious and forget the reasons they had become Christian. "It's better, in my opinion, to share the reasons that we believe in god and the things He's done for us than it is to tell others what they ought to do and not do." She tried not to hate, but Symphony felt uncomfortable when others preached about what their peers should and should not do. I know they want to edify us, but it doesn't do what they hope that it will. Sometimes I think it's cruel. Every year, at this time, and then again at Christmas, and finally at Easter, Symphony had to give real though to whether she wanted to be involved in the celebration. Every year she decided that she would, but she lacked conviction. Sometimes I think I'm doing it because it's what everybody else does, not because it's the right thing to do. We don't bring pagans into our church by celebrating their holidays. But it's fun, and I don't want to stop having fun just because I'm a Christian. What happens then? Do I have to condemn Dad and Daddy for being gay, too? It was hard to fathom, and she put it immediately out of her mind. Being the daughter of a pastor was hard for anyone, but she had a unique situation. Her father was a pastor, and he was gay. Plus he's not my biological father. That was something they didn't talk about. Sym and Chan's mother had been white, as their father was white. Symphony had the marks of a Jewish woman, while Chantel was clearly half Asian. Life's complicated like that, but I'm in no position to judge him for what he is, or what he's done. It's not his fault that Mama left us, or that she had an affair. More than one, by the look of it. Daddy had done his best, and she would stand by him. Did that make her less of a Christian? Oh, but she had wondered. Regardless, her relationship with Jesus was her own, and she didn't answer to men for her choices, but to God. "Some of the other events are too pagan for me." Sym squatted near the roundest pumpkin, probably too large for her to lift in her condition. She rolled it, testing its sides. "I think this one would be good for carving an all-over design into it, don't you?" She balanced and looked up at him, her hazel eyes curious as she met his face. "I haven't done anything like that before, but it could be interesting. A challenge, I guess." Cautious, she slid her fingers beneath it and straightened, testing its weight. No, better have somebody else pick it up for me. This time Sym smile at Tyler and cocked her head to the side. "Do you mind? I guess it's easy to put my back out, even so early." Chan would have accused her of being a big baby about the whole pregnancy, but Sym wanted to do this right. I don't want to be one of those teen moms who puts herself first and messes the baby up. That's why I'm reading everything I can get my hands on. She straightened and stood, balancing herself on both feet with her feet spread before she settled. "No excuses. You ought to come." She offered him a big smile. "I'm sure you can find a suit or rent something if you want to go. The great thing about the masque is that nobody has to know who you are. Tons of people won't have dates. The Brook Haven kids aren't supposed to have boyfriends or girlfriends. Besides, you might meet somebody there." It struck her (not for the first time) that he was looking for a boy and not for a girl. Somehow that made Brook Haven an even better option. "I can go with you to pick something out, if you like. I'll even help you with the mask." She didn't mean to pressure. The heat rose to her cheeks, reminding her that she might be. "You don't have to, if you don't want to. I just think it might be good for you. Dances are a great way to meet people when you're new in town." He'd been in town a while now, of course. She had to stop herself to think about that. Still, Tyler seemed to struggle with friendships. "He hasn't asked yet, but I think Levi Washington's going to ask me."

tyler preston
Student • 14 YRS
ISFJ
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Tyler
Pronouns
He/Him
Sexual Orientation
Homosexual
Status
Single
Partner
Riding Style
English
Tyler lived in Trader's Bend until he was 7, when his family was in a serious car accident. His mother was seriously injured, and he went to live with his father, step-mother, and step-sister for several years. After using a horse riding accident to reveal their abuse, he's returned to live with his mother again.
Spicy
is
Nutmeg

Breed
Appaloosa
Gender
Gelding
Age
12
Disciplines
Endurance
Application
Ben
is Offline


Age
35
Pronouns
He/him
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM
50 Posts
445 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
TW: mention of racism
Tyler grinned as Symphony talked about sharing her faith rather than telling others what to do; it wasn't word for word anything he'd heard from Pastor Lyonette, but it felt like something he might have said. Tyler found it much easier to talk to Sym about religion than to her father. In part that was because the pastor still had a position of authority that Sym didn't, and Tyler couldn't shake his instinct that there was no space to be honest with the man. But in part it was because Sym's relationship with religion was unmistakably her own, and he found the way she talked about it clearer than most. Once in a while, though, he could hear echoes of her father in things she said, and Tyler found that comforting in its own way. He rolled the pumpkin he was handling back to sitting on its bottom again and leaned over, from a distance, to see the one Sym was examining better for me. Sure the Haunted Nights was exactly the sort of event she considered too pagan, so he didn't mention his own interest in it. Instead she looked right up at him and asked about a pumpkin. "Yeah, that looks like a good one." He wasn't sure, really - he was counting on her to be able to tell which pumpkins were good - but he couldn't see anything obviously wrong with it, and, when it doubt, he agreed with people. He stood up and had turned away when she called him back. "No problem." He leaned over and then, realizing his position was wrong, knelt down and wrapped his arms around it and lifted. It was bulky, but not so heavy that it was uncomfortable to carry. "Where d'you want it?" Unfortunately, Sym didn't buy his reasons for not going to the masque. The problem, Tyler thought, was that his reasons sounded like excuses because they were excuses. The money might be a better reason, but he didn't want to mention that, because she might find a way to help with that, which would be even worse, and put even more pressure on him to go. And the actual reason he didn't want to go was too personal to share, and he wasn't sure he could have found the words if he'd wanted to - the very idea of going was more frightening than anything else that had a come up so far this Halloween, a gaping unknown mixing the unpleasantness of all the formal events he'd been dragged to before with the unknown of going to anything like that now that he'd moved. Still gripping the pumpkin, Tyler froze up, looking out to the distance over Symphony's shoulder while he tried to figure out how to get out of this. The obvious answer, taking up her invitation to just not want to go, didn't feel like an option. Just expressing his own opinions never did; he'd learned to launder them through other people, saying just the right thing to convince other people to decide to do the thing Tyler hadn't wanted to suggest. After a long pause, he finally started talking again. "The masks sounded pretty cool, but are they really enough to hide who people are? I feel like I could recognize most people I know from the height and hair and their voices and things like that." Though not enough to make him want to attend, the masks were the most enticing part of the event - Tyler was realizing he liked costumes, and was looking forward to getting to wear a proper Halloween costume later in the season. "And I'm pretty sure most people could recognize me in a mask," he added, letting himself grunt twice to illustrate. "I guess I could see if I can get my good suit adjusted in time. It's gotta be fixed eventually anyway." He was playing for time now, hoping to wind down the conversation without having to commit to going, and then hoping it didn't come up again. "I hadn't thought that hard about it. All I saw about it was the poster, and it's so hard to tell which things are actually going to be cool" "Oh, Levi!" he said, sounding a little surprised - he'd assumed she was going to name a high school student. Tyler looked around - he'd seen Levi around earlier, he was pretty sure, but couldn't catch sight of him. "He's always seemed nice." Tyler had talked to him a little - it was hard not to, since he was the youth group leader - but had managed to avoid getting to know him well. Tyler's mouth twisted a little as he considered what an odd pair they seemed. Symphony was older than him, but Tyler thought of her as a peer - an older peer, sure, but she was still a high school student. Levi, on the other hand, was an authority figure; not a parent or a teacher or a pastor, but still unambiguously an adult. His mouth twisted further as he realized that a lot of people in town would be uncomfortable with a relationship between Levi and Symphony for a different reason. He had his mouth halfway open before he realized the sentence he was about to say - You really don't care what people in town say about you - wasn't going to sound like the complement it was supposed to be. He shut his mouth; this was probably a case where not saying anything about it was the only polite thing. "I take it you'll say yes if - when - he does?" he asked with a smile.
symphony lyonette
Student • 17 YRS
ESFP
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Sym
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual
Status
Complicated
Partner
...
Riding Style
English
Sport
is
Spoils of War

Breed
Dutch Warmblood
Gender
Mare
Age
12 Years
Disciplines
Hunter/Jumper
Application
is Offline


Age
37
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM for Discord
44 Posts
465 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
10 October, 2017 for @tyler preston
TW: teen pregnancy, religion (christian)
"See the tables over there? That's where the carving's going to be. Can you just put it there, please?" The hardest part about being pregnant, so far, hadn't been the morning sickness; It had been asking for help. There were plenty of things that she ought not to do because it would hurt her, or it could hurt the baby, and for those things, she had to ask for help. That's what's going to draw attention at school. Everybody's going to notice that I can't do things for myself that I used to. The thought of dropping out or home schooling hadn't crossed her mind at all. Those weren't options for Sym. She had dreams that involved college, baby or not. Whatever Daddy thinks, I'm going to make this work for me. It has to. Other people did it. Sometimes even guys did it. She could make this work. She took a deep breath and followed after Tyler, her hands folded in front of her as she moved. Her toes wiggled in the boots she'd worn today, a pair of hiking boots that hadn't broken in yet -- a reminder that Sym continued to grow even as her baby did. I guess that's one of the reasons we're not supposed to get pregnant when we're young. We're still growing, too. I wonder how much of the nutrients I need is going to the baby right now. The thought had crossed her mind, and her doctor had told her not to "eat for two" but with all of the throwing up, she often felt depleted. It seemed logical to eat as much as she needed to in order to not feel hungry, but the thought of gaining significant weight sent a shiver down her spine. Sym had never been what anyone could call "fat." Not until now. Tyler stopped suddenly -- too suddenly -- and Sym nearly bumped into him before he turned around. She blinked a few times, getting her bearings, focusing on his face. They stood eye to eye, a reminder that he was still growing, too. Besides, he's younger than I am. He probably has a ton of growing yet to do. Boys his age shoot up at some point. It amused Sym that she needed that reminder. In her mind he was every bit her equal. The kids at school tended to look down on the younger classes, but for Sym, she tried to see everybody as the same. After all, at one point she'd been a freshman, hadn't she? It took her a moment to notice his face (though she'd been looking directly into it). His pupils had dilated, and the muscles of his cheeks and eyes seemed to twitch. Her brow knit and she cocked her head slightly to the side. Something had caused him some intense anxiety. She reached out a hand to steady him -- and the pumpkin -- and gave his lower arm a gentle squeeze. "Don't worry about it." Had she pressured him into something he didn't want to do? It was hard for her to imagine anyone not wanting to participate in something as exciting as a fall dance. Her heart picked up its pace, surprising her, and she dropped her hand again. "You don't have to go if you don't want to." Hurt had crawled into her voice, the tinge of pregnancy hormones and the sense of sensitivity that shouldn't have been there. His words didn't reach deep enough to spark the trigger in her conscious mind, but it would strike her later as she drifted off to sleep that he didn't want people to see him in public. For now, all she knew was that his behavior seemed odd, especially for someone his age. It could be bullies. There might be bullies there who are bothering him. Not like there's much I can do about that. I'm hardly popular any more. She never had been, exactly, but enough people liked her that she'd had room to make things go her way if she wanted. "It's okay," she repeated, her voice clear of any momentary hurt now. "We don't have to talk about that." She gave him a smile and gestured toward the tables. "We should put that down before..." Sym didn't finish her sentence. Her cheeks blazed with heat. She'd almost said something that would have shamed both of them in the long run. Before you lose your grip on it. It wasn't that she didn't notice the way that he twitched and grunted. That would have been impossible. But Sym didn't point it out. He knew it happened. Who needed somebody to point out how different they were? No, she wouldn't do that to him. She'd said enough. She reached her hand out to his arm and directed him back toward the tables, gently and without a grip. "We've been hanging out a bit. He's older, I know. I suspect some of the girls at school are going to be jealous. He's pretty hot."
tyler preston
Student • 14 YRS
ISFJ
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Tyler
Pronouns
He/Him
Sexual Orientation
Homosexual
Status
Single
Partner
Riding Style
English
Tyler lived in Trader's Bend until he was 7, when his family was in a serious car accident. His mother was seriously injured, and he went to live with his father, step-mother, and step-sister for several years. After using a horse riding accident to reveal their abuse, he's returned to live with his mother again.
Spicy
is
Nutmeg

Breed
Appaloosa
Gender
Gelding
Age
12
Disciplines
Endurance
Application
Ben
is Offline


Age
35
Pronouns
He/him
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM
50 Posts
445 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
TW:
"Sure, no problem." Tyler hefted the pumpkin so he could slip his right arm further under it, giving him a better grip, and then started carrying it over to where Symphony had indicated. Symphony backed off from encouraging him to go to the masque, agreeing that he didn't have to go, and Tyler forced himself to smile. "Yeah, of course. Well, I guess I'll see if I can get things together in time to make it." Keeping up a pretense that he might want to go but just couldn't make it was instinctive, but clearly pointless. She could tell that he didn't want to go. He'd tried to cover for it with excuses and misdirection, but his usual tricks never worked on Sym. That had come to be what he liked about her - that she seemed to like him despite seeing through all his attempts to manipulate her into liking him. But it left him unsure how to handle moments like this, where he might have actually hurt her feelings. Fortunately, Symphony broke the moment, giving him permission to drop the topic and reminding him that he was still holding the pumpkin. He nodded at Sym, and turned back around. "Yeah," he said as he started walking again. She sounded less hurt now, so perhaps he hadn't permanently damaged their friendship, but he was still racing through things he could have said, should have said, to avoid the situation in the first place. Next time something like that happened, he'd have to claim he was planning to go - in the unlikely event that someone noticed he didn't, it would be easier to explain that something had come up once it was too late anyway. Tyler finally reached the table and put the pumpkin down. It hadn't seemed that heavy, but he'd been holding it long enough that his right arm felt a little sore, and he shook it a little to wake it up again. He leaned against the table for a second before realizing that it wasn't sturdy enough, and quickly stood up properly before he knocked it over. He almost blushed when she described Levi as hot; he was used to other boys describing girls as hot, and he'd assumed that girls talked the same way about boys when they were alone - though his step-sister had refused to say if that really happened the one time he'd asked her - but he wasn't quite expecting Symphony to call a guy hot right in front of him like that. He smiled awkwardly and shrugged. "I'll take your word for it," he said, half-laughing. Having an opinion on whether Levi was hot definitely didn't lead anywhere he wanted to go right now. Stepping back from the table to look at the pumpkin, he asked, "Okay, so how do you actually carve one of these?" He looked around at the other people in the area, trying to guess what the steps might be from what they were doing.
symphony lyonette
Student • 17 YRS
ESFP
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Sym
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual
Status
Complicated
Partner
...
Riding Style
English
Sport
is
Spoils of War

Breed
Dutch Warmblood
Gender
Mare
Age
12 Years
Disciplines
Hunter/Jumper
Application
is Offline


Age
37
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM for Discord
44 Posts
465 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
10 October, 2017 for @tyler preston
TW: teen pregnancy, religion (christian)
For an instant, Sym thought she would direct him back to the pumpkin patch to get his own to carve. It was fun to carve pumpkins, and she wanted to give him that opportunity. He might not want to, though. If he wanted one, he would have gone back to do it on his own. I've already put enough pressure on him. He doesn't need more of that. She pursed her lips for a moment. It would take a bit of concentration to redirect her energy toward something else. How much time had she already spent telling him what he ought to do and how he ought to do it? I'm sure he gets enough of that at home. He ought to be able to be his own person. Sym cast him a sideways glance. She lived with two gay men; She knew what that looked like. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. It wasn't so much the way that Tyler acted. She'd known plenty of heterosexual men who behaved in a way that others identified as being "gay." She also knew plenty of gay men who didn't wear that on their sleeves. Nate was a great example of that sort of guy. Tyler's behavior didn't shout "homosexual" from the rooftops. It was a sense, what some people referred to as "gaydar." Mostly that he doesn't seem to look at the girls the way that most guys do. He doesn't look at me the way that most guys do. Most of their eyes hovered over her breasts, especially now that they were growing, or even her hips. Tyler's didn't. She didn't know much about asexuality, so for her attraction was simple and binary: You liked boys or you liked girls. Tyler clearly didn't like girls. She shrugged it off. This wasn't something worth pushing. As with the pumpkins, if he wanted to talk to her about it, he would, in his own time. No point in making him uncomfortable in the meantime. "There's actually kind of more than one way to do it. Some people peel back the outer part of the pumpkin to show the yellow inside. But most people cut the top off and pull out all of the innards." It was gross, but if she was honest, she liked the way that the slime felt between her fingers. It's childish of me I guess, but this was one of the best parts of being a kid when I was growing up, wasn't it? A shiver went down her spine as she reached for the first tool -- a saw that would cut through the flesh of the pumpkin to reveal the mess inside. "If you want to help me, you can. I've gotten pretty good at this, but I think I'm just going to do a normal jack o'lantern. Otherwise I feel like Chan and I would win every carving contest there is!" She flashed Tyler a grin, then shrugged. Demonstrating, Sym took the tool in her closed right fist and jammed it into the top of the pumpkin, about three inches to the right of the stem. "Then just saw around. You want to do it?" He's going to say yes. He'll say yes to whatever he thinks I want him to do. I could give him the grosses job and he'd do it if he thought it would make me like him. Instead, Sym felt bad. Not for him, but just bad in general. It's got to suck going through life trying to make people like you. "I can do it if you'd rather not, but I figured we could work together. Then if we win, we'll split the prize."
tyler preston
Student • 14 YRS
ISFJ
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Tyler
Pronouns
He/Him
Sexual Orientation
Homosexual
Status
Single
Partner
Riding Style
English
Tyler lived in Trader's Bend until he was 7, when his family was in a serious car accident. His mother was seriously injured, and he went to live with his father, step-mother, and step-sister for several years. After using a horse riding accident to reveal their abuse, he's returned to live with his mother again.
Spicy
is
Nutmeg

Breed
Appaloosa
Gender
Gelding
Age
12
Disciplines
Endurance
Application
Ben
is Offline


Age
35
Pronouns
He/him
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM
50 Posts
445 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
TW: internalized homophobia
All told, Tyler preferred not to carve his own pumpkin. It wasn't expensive, but it wasn't free, and he could no doubt find better things to spend the money on. More importantly, he didn't know how to do it, and didn't really even understand how it was supposed to work, so he was worried he'd end up doing something wrong by accident. So he decided to "forget" to get one of his own. If Sym noticed, he'd just claim he forgot and go get one, which wouldn't be the end of the world. He'd look a little foolish, but that was fine, maybe even a good thing. What mattered to him was that people not notice the ways he was weird, and looking stupid or weak was part of Tyler's usual strategy for misdirected people away from that. Watching Sym, for a moment he thought he was going to have to get a pumpkin after all - or, worse, talk more about Levi. She was on the verge of saying something, certainly, but whatever it was, she shrugged it away. Instead, she started explaining how to carve a pumpkin. Tyler leaned over a little to watch more closely, glancing at the saw she picked up to see how it worked. "Sure, that sounds fun. I mostly just want to see what it's like to make one." He watched her jam the saw into the top, then offer it to him. "Sure, thanks." He put a hand on the saw, then realized he wasn't quite sure what she meant. Around? Around what? Still holding the saw, he glanced around discreetly to see what other people were doing. This, really, was the reason he wanted to do this with Symphony. When people gave instructions in words, they never seemed to actually say enough; they'd give half the instructions, then leave him to guess how to fill in the rest. Tyler learned by watching, and carving this with Sym - ideally, watching her carve it and helping out when asked - would teach him more than anything she could say. "Even if we win, you don't have to split the prize. Seriously, I'm happy to just to learn how it's done." No one nearby was doing exactly the same step at this moment, but he could see some tops lying on tables next to people's pumpkins, which suggested what she meant, so he started sawing in a wide circle around the stem. He went slowly and carefully, keeping one eye on Symphony's reaction - never asking if he was doing it right, but going slowly enough that she'd have plenty of chance to stop him before he messed it up too badly. While he carved, the discussion about Levi was still on his mind. "Can I ask you a question?" He lowered his voice a little. Tyler knew that there was something missing in how he felt about girls - something his male friends felt that he didn't. So far it had been easy enough to fool them - it was obvious who the correct answers were when another boy asked who he thought was hot - but it was hard to keep faking the subtle details. So he'd been thinking, for a while, about getting, or at least pursuing, a girlfriend, if only to buy him more time to figure things out. "There's this girl I like." He was pretty sure he wasn't attracted to her, but he thought they'd make a good couple: if his school had been a television show, the two of them would have been a plausible couple, and that was all Tyler had to base a decision off of. "But I'm not really sure how to ask her out. And I don't really know who to ask for advice. I don't even know what to ask, really. If some guy you barely knew existed asked you out, how would you want him to do it?"
symphony lyonette
Student • 17 YRS
ESFP
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Sym
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual
Status
Complicated
Partner
...
Riding Style
English
Sport
is
Spoils of War

Breed
Dutch Warmblood
Gender
Mare
Age
12 Years
Disciplines
Hunter/Jumper
Application
is Offline


Age
37
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM for Discord
44 Posts
465 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
10 October, 2017 for @tyler preston
TW: teen pregnancy, religion (christian)
If somebody had told Symphony that she had excellent people skills, she probably would have laughed. Nervously. People talked, of course, but never to her face. It would have been strange to know who liked her and who didn't. It would have been more strange to know who liked her based on what criteria. She didn't go out of her way to be likable, but Sym did try to get along with people. For her, that meant getting to know them individually and doing what she could to be kind to them in a way that resonated with them. She didn't have to change herself to do it, and because she didn't have to, she didn't see that Tyler was. What she did see was that he was lonely. The awkwardness didn't stand out as unusual. Weren't they all at that age? He was reluctant to do some things. Weren't most teenagers anxious about how their peers would perceive them? Symphony could relate to the feeling, though less so to the behavior. Uncertainty plagued many teens. If she could, she wanted to ease it for him. She handled it by not touching unnecessarily, and by not giving him weird, awkward smiles. Sym only touched, only smiled if she meant it. Pumpkin Carving was hardly a serious task, but if he was unsure, an encouraging smile might only make him feel patronized. "It's like making a lid for the jack-o-lantern," she said, reaching out to help balance the pumpkin. "So you cut around the stem, like it's a handle." She followed his gaze around the group, to see what others were working on, but most of them were scooping out the innards by that point. Once he had it, Sym grinned, a real one now. "Yeah, now just pull it out. It might stick a bit because the stuff inside attaches to the bottom." That wasn't quite right, but it was close enough. "Pull." Sym would have done it herself, only he had control of the pumpkin. "It's only fair to split it," she said seriously as she reached for the pumpkin to take it from Tyler. "You're doing half of the work, and there's nothing I need. Whatever I get I'll probably donate anyway. Back to Brook Haven, really. It's a good place, this is." She fell more serious for a moment as she pulled the top off the pumpkin and set it aside, then reached for the scraping tool. She held it up to show it to Tyler. "I'm going to use this to scrape all the goo off the inside of the pumpkin, but it's pretty messy. Gross." Sym shuddered, but the truth was that this was one of her favorite parts as a kid. She liked to feel the goo between her fingers, like muck. A smile twinged the corners of her mouth, but she didn't quite give in to it. Carving, pulling the guts out of the pumpkin, proved to be a welcome distraction. Her heart rate picked up a fraction. This was not the question she'd expected. "I mean, that happens to me a lot." It did. Or it had, before she got pregnant. Her mouth set in a line, and Sym took a deep breath, hesitated in her carving, and looked up at Tyler. "You know, I think the main thing is if you're going to ask her out, make sure she's somebody you want to spend time with. You're a good-looking guy." She swallowed. She wasn't attracted to him, of course. Too young. Much too young. "I don't see any reason she wouldn't want to go out with you. Is it somebody I know?"
tyler preston
Student • 14 YRS
ISFJ
Occupation
Student
Nickname
Tyler
Pronouns
He/Him
Sexual Orientation
Homosexual
Status
Single
Partner
Riding Style
English
Tyler lived in Trader's Bend until he was 7, when his family was in a serious car accident. His mother was seriously injured, and he went to live with his father, step-mother, and step-sister for several years. After using a horse riding accident to reveal their abuse, he's returned to live with his mother again.
Spicy
is
Nutmeg

Breed
Appaloosa
Gender
Gelding
Age
12
Disciplines
Endurance
Application
Ben
is Offline


Age
35
Pronouns
He/him
Timezone
GMT-5
Contact
PM
50 Posts
445 Points
Hillbrook
Rider
TW: internalized homophobia
Tyler tugged on the top of the pumpkin, gently at first, then less gently when it didn't budge. He could feel it move a little, as some of whatever was holding it to the body of the pumpkin began to break, so he held the base tightly with his left hand and gave another sharp pull with his right, twisting a little to help break it away. That did it, and the top finally came loose. He took half a step back, letting Sym take the pumpkin, and shrugged. It wasn't worth arguing about how to split winnings that weren't that likely to even exist. Taking half Symphony's prize money didn't feel right, but arguing was awkward. Fortunately, she gave him a way out. "Oh yeah. Donating it back's a great idea. I'm sure they'd make good use of it." He glanced in the direction of the buildings that made up the core of the ranch, though he couldn't see them through the crowd of people. The possibility that his sister could end up here was always in the back of his mind when the ranch came up, and it meant that donating money didn't feel like an abstract good deed; it was a concrete, positive step towards something that affected him personally. Looking back at Sym, he added, "I guess I'm getting ahead of myself worrying about what to do with the prize money when we haven't even finished carving it." Sym was kind enough to hold up the next tool, and Tyler examined it briefly, shifting around and hunching his shoulders to see it from a few different angles, before nodding and looking into the pumpkin to see what she did next. To his surprise, it was filled with seeds and stringy orange bits which Sym started pulling out. He'd seen jack-o-lanterns before, and since they were always basically empty inside besides a candle, it hadn't occurred to him that the pumpkins started full and had to be cleaned out. Despite describing it as gross, Sym hadn't shown much hesitation at taking the job herself. He picked up one of the pieces she pulled out; it was slick and a little slimy, and he could see why some people wouldn't like handling them, but she didn't look like she was actually bothered by it. Tyler grinned. He could imagine that Sym had been asked out plenty of times. He'd only met her after the rumors about her pregnancy began swirling, but it was still clear that she'd been popular, with girls and guys alike, before that. He bit his lip thoughtfully and looked away, as much to avoid having to actually react to the rest of Sym's answer as because he actually had to think about what she'd said. "Thanks," he mumbled. He was a little embarrassed, but mostly gratified. He certainly worked hard enough on his appearance - a delicate balance between spending an hour each morning getting his clothes and hair just so and making sure it didn't look like he tried as hard as he did - but he rarely got any confirmation that he was doing a good job of it. "I dunno. She's," he lowered his voice and glanced around quickly, "Kaylee Barker." It wasn't exactly secret that he was thinking about asking her out, since he'd mentioned her name when pressed by some of his friends a couple weeks earlier, but it also wasn't something he wanted getting out too widely before he actually asked her. "She's in my grade, so I dunno if you'd know her." Sym probably didn't know the entire freshman class, and Kaylee's family went to the other church, but Sym did seem to know a lot of people. He chewed on his lip, trying to explain his question more clearly. Tyler was always inclined to be a little manipulative, presenting information and trying to move events so that people were motivated to do the things he wanted them to do without realizing how much Tyler had done to make that happen. The little he knew about dating, drawn almost entirely from television shows, only seemed to confirm that there was a whole new secret set of rules he had to decipher to make a relationship work. But he couldn't explain that directly to Sym, any more than he could just tell Kaylee to her face that they seemed like a suitable couple. "I feel like if I ask her out, it needs to be really romantic or she'll be insulted," he finally explained.
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